By Lynne Faires Seale
Eating healthy with your kids can prove troublesome. You always put them first, making sure they eat their greens to grow up big and strong but it's hard to satisfy the whole family right? Sometimes you feel like you need to cook different meals because what you want to eat to get healthier, is different to what the family wants.
In this article, Wife, Mother of three and Registered Holistic Nutritionist Lynne Faires shows us 7 ways to share healthy eating with your kids.
The Holistic Approach
I became a Registered Holistic Nutritionist because my body was not thriving on a standard North American diet. I had numerous food sensitivities, post-partum depression and eczema. Being an active person with a young family pushed me to find the key to being myself again. I researched the benefits of a holistic lifestyle for years before attending school where I further learned the benefits of a wholesome and nutrient dense diet.
Not only have my lifestyle changes helped me remain active through weightlifting and playing softball, but our family has learned to grow a backyard garden and we really appreciate the art of cooking and enjoying wholesome meals together!
In this article, I'm going to show you 7 ways to share healthy eating with your kids. Ready? Let's jump in.
7 Ways To Share Healthy Eating With Your Kids
1 - Lead By Example
So maybe you haven’t eaten as well as you could have, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start now. It also doesn’t mean that you can’t include your children in that healthy eating plan. Starting when the children are younger, makes it easier to change their behaviour. They will see you eating well and will follow suit. If you look and feel happy, that will show and your children will catch on to that.
2 - Have Healthy Snacks On Hand
As a parent, we are always on the go and often that means our children are following along. I know that ‘hanger’ is a real thing in our house. Being hungry will cause us to have low blood sugar and become irritable. It also means we will grab whatever we can to get us all through the tears and madness. Spend some time at the beginning of the week packing up healthy snacks. Buy some whole fruits that are easy to pack, chop up vegetables with hummus and put in to-go containers, or buy nuts and seeds with dried fruit that you can keep in your bag.
3 - Get Them To Help With Planning
If you plan out a salad with chicken and a balsamic dressing, you might get some push back from your kids. If they have the opportunity to pick a healthy food, they are more likely to eat it. Try picking a few recipes that fit with your goals, that they can choose from. Take them to the store and have them help you buy the groceries and prepare the meal together. When they see the hard work that goes into everything, they will be more appreciative of the meals you prepare for them.
4 - Family Dinners Together
Eating healthy isn’t just about going through the motions of eating more vegetables and less processed food. Food ties us to our traditions, builds communities and brings us closer together. It is something that every person can relate to. Instead of running around and grabbing food on the go – try to prepare your meals as a family and eat them together. It will be something you are all proud of.
5 - One Bite
I have heard this rule since I was a child. I hear myself say it and go “Man, I sound like my mother”. But it’s a rule in our house. If the kids say “I don’t want it”, then they have to have one bite and can leave it aside. However, they are expected to eat what they do like. It takes children awhile to become accustomed to new foods, especially if you have been eating a lot of prepared meals from the store. The more they try it, the more likely they are to become familiar with it and it will become a normal food for them.
6 - Don’t Force Them To Finish
I really think this is important. I know we are all trying to be mindful of being less wasteful and respectful of the ‘chefs’ in the house. However, by forcing them to finish their dinner and starting an argument you can make dinner a negative experience for your child. You are both going to be stressed out, which will slow digestion down and make each meal a chore instead of a nice time to catch up about your day. To avoid this put a mix of some foods you know they are certain to eat and some they are less likely to eat. Keep the “one-bite” rule in mind and when they say they are full, let that be that. Save the food that they don’t eat for the next snack/meal.
7 - Make it fun
Food shouldn’t be a chore for your or for your children. Making it fun and building a healthy mindset around food and food habits, from an early age, will prevent stress around eating that could lead to eating disorders later on in life. Remind them that to grow big and strong like you, they need to eat their broccoli because it contains lots of vitamins and minerals. If they are younger, you can give them a story to play a long with. Older children do well with seeing you succeed in your goals.
Written by Lynne Faires Seale - Registered Holistic Nutritionist
See More From Lynne At Intouch Nutrition
Lynne has some great articles on her blog Intouch Nutrition which can be found here.
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